10 tips to help you cope with new-mom exhaustion

These 10 tips should help you survive (and enjoy) those early weeks as a new mom

1. Go slow. We live in a fast paced world. Babies move on a very different pace, as do new parents. Give yourself permission to move on baby time.

2. Limit your other obligations. You will only be a new parent for a few months of your whole life. Think about how you can make the most of it.

3. Sleep whenever you can. Try to rest whenever baby is asleep or being cared for by someone else. Rest can sometimes feel like a waste of time when there is so much to do, but keeping yourself as refreshed as possible will make everything else easier.

4. Nurture yourself. You are putting out an enormous amount of energy. It is important to recharge your batteries. Even a 30 minute hot bath, a short read or a walk with a friend could help to rejuvenate you. Think about two or three things you could do in less than an hour to nurture yourself and make it happen.

5. Think of your baby’s crying as communication. Your baby needs to learn that the world is a trustworthy and reliable place. His sense of trust in the world is an essential building block for all other learning he will do. There may be times when nothing seems to help and you may just need to stay close, relaxed and supportive until your baby is done crying.

6. Keep your expectations to a minimum. Many parents who work outside the home before they have a baby expect that being home with baby will afford them many opportunities to get things done around the house. If you can keep your expectations to a minimum, you may feel less overwhelmed and unsuccessful. Figure out which projects can wait.

7. Accept offers of help. You will be giving others the gift of feeling included and helpful and you will be giving yourself the gift of help.

8. Ask for help. Many people around you might be interested in helping, but may not know how or what to offer. You can gently inquire if they would be interested.

9. Get together with other new parents. One of the hardest things about being a new parent is believing you are the only one feeling overwhelmed and confused. It can be very supportive to spend time with other new parents. Look for new parent support or activity groups through your local hospital, community college, adult education school or other community group.

10. Expect to feel vulnerable. Bringing a new baby into your life changes you forever. Your feelings are simultaneously deepened and closer to the surface. You might find yourself wet with tears or spontaneously elated at a moment’s notice. If you know that this rich emotional life is a natural part of being a new parent, you may be able to relax, tolerate and even relish these new feelings.